A New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) operator was killed during a training exercise with American special operations units. On May 7, Lance Corporal Nicholas Kahotea died in a night exercise taking place in the Ardmore training facility. The facility is almost brand new—inaugurated in 2016. It includes a four-story, all-weather special operations training building, which contains numerous shooting ranges, a top-notch “kill house,” a mock aircraft, and a mock ship’s side for maritime counterterrorism practice, among other features. The facility cost approximately $46 million, a serious investment for the small but highly professional and capable New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
The Chief of the New Zealand Army, Major General John Boswell, said in a statement, “It is with regret that I must inform you of the passing of Lance Corporal Nicholas Kahotea, a soldier, father, friend, and proud New Zealander. Nick passed away last night after sustaining injuries in an NZSOF training activity.”
New Zealand media reported that the NZSAS operators were training alongside an American aviation unit. This could only be the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), which has worked numerous times with international SOF units during the Global War on Terror (GWOT).